A Banff church has been awarded more than £3,000 in community funding despite having almost £1 million in the bank.
River Church asked Aberdeenshire Council’s Banff and Buchan area committee for £4,004 to put towards a security camera system and signage, building repairs and new front doors at its premises in the Harvest Centre on Castle Street.
However that request divided the opinion of councillors who argued that the application would offer little benefit to the wider community, and could in fact be funded from the organisation’s own bank account.
Banff councillor Michael Roy called for the committee to reject the application saying it was “not personal” but that backing the plea would “not benefit the greater community”.
He said: “Churches throughout the world are places of safety and security which help the community.
“But looking at the papers I discover that this church has a bank balance of £909,000, that’s nearly £1m at its disposal.
“Yet it is coming to the community to ask for money to fit a CCTV system which in itself will only benefit the church – not the wider community.”
His view was backed by councillor Glen Reynolds who argued the £3,246 left in the community fund after other awards were issued might “mean the earth” to a group with less cash in the bank.
Committee members had earlier awarded £5,000 to Banff and Macduff in Bloom’s tractor appeal, £10,000 to Banff Preservation and Heritage Society Museum to spend on storage units and £5,000 towards Fraserburgh Surf Club’s new equipment and admin costs.
A further £4,025 went to the town’s Sea Cadets trailer fund, while grants of £1,500 and £4168, were given to Fraserburgh Development Trust to buy Christmas lights and roadside poles and banners, respectively.
Banff councillor John Cox called for the committee to “look at this application on its merits”.
He said: “This church has played a major part in the well-being of Banff.
“The installation of CCTV is for the greater good.”
After a tied vote, chairman Andy Kille’s casting vote meant the money was awarded.